A federal appeals court agreed with a lower court’s ruling, saying Coach Joe Kennedy would not be able to go back to his coaching job at a Washington high school after he was dismissed for praying after football games.
Kennedy was suspended in 2015 after he refused to stop praying at mid-field after football games. He then sued the district on religious freedom grounds. He also sought a ruling against the district on whether he could return to work.
But Wednesday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Kennedy.
Judge Milan Smith wrote for the court that Kennedy "took advantage of his position to press his particular views upon the impressionable and captive minds before him."
Kennedy has said the post-game prayers were voluntary for students.
"After a game the tensions are still pretty high, you know these kids are pretty emotional about losing or winning," he said.
"And so just that moment of peace afterwards, of thanks, it's always been a great thing throughout our entire football league, and for it to be something bad, it kind of shocked everyone," Kennedy said.
Kennedy was assistant coach at Bremerton High School from 2008-2015.
“This is deeply disappointing to us,” First Liberty Institute attorney Jeremy Dys said on The Todd Starnes Show.
“The 9th Circuit believes they can ban all coaches from praying individually in public just because they can be seen,” Dys said. “That is simply wrong. It is not American. And it is not the America contemplated by our Constitution.”
The religious freedom suit is still scheduled for trial court.
Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
Publication date: August 24, 2017